Vegan Pesto Brands: Full List [90 Products Analyzed]

As I’ve been writing vegan guides to restaurants this year, I’ve encountered pesto a few times. Typically, the allergen menu for the restaurant will say it’s not vegan, as it contains dairy. But I knew there could be more to the answer. So I studied 90 products to finally answer the question… Is pesto vegan?

Out of 90 pesto products checked, 33 were vegan and 57 were not. This means about 37% of pesto products checked were vegan. The most common non-vegan ingredient was cheese. Other common animal ingredients were whey and egg lysozyme (used as a preservative).

Below, I’ll share some guidelines on which ingredients to look for. I’ll also share my full table of vegan pesto brands, along with the full results of my study into 90 pesto products.

Is Pesto Vegan?

Pesto is not typically vegan. Both green pesto and red pesto usually contains parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, or other cheese or dairy products.

However, an increasing number of vegan pesto products now exist, too.

How do you replace the cheese in pesto to make it vegan? Honestly, I’m not sure exactly how they do it.

A few vegan pesto recipes contain tofu—but this is not common. Often, it may just require an increase in oil or nuts when you remove the cheese.

Does Pesto Contain Dairy?

Most pesto contains dairy in the form of cheese and/or whey. I also found some pesto products that contained yogurt, cream, milk proteins, and other dairy products.

Does Pesto Contain Egg?

The majority of pesto products do not contain egg. However, there are a significant number of pesto products on the market that do contain egg lysozyme as a preservative for certain cheeses.

Since the egg lysozyme in pesto is always paired with cheese, it’s not like this egg is ruining an otherwise vegan product. But if you’re trying to be more strict about eggs than milk for some reason, then be aware of the egg issue in many of the brands covered below.

Does Pesto Contain Meat?

Pesto sauce does not typically contain meat. None of the products I analyzed contained ingredients that would typically be called meat. That said, there are two caveats to this:

  1. “Pesto” dishes at restaurants often do contain meat, like chicken pesto. So be alert as you order pesto dishes at restaurants.
  2. Some of the pesto options below contain “rennet,” which is an enzyme taken from calf stomachs. It is a byproduct of the veal industry, and it requires the death of baby calves.

What Pesto Brands Are Vegan?

First, here is a quick look at the 32 brands of pesto I analyzed. I’ve sorted each brand into “Vegan,” “Not Vegan,” or “Mixed.” In this case, “Mixed” just means that brand offers vegan pesto and non-vegan pesto. So you need to choose the right product.

Ready? Let’s dive in… You can click any of the brands to see more detail on their specific offerings.

Pesto BrandIs It Vegan?
365Not Vegan
Aldi (Priano)Not Vegan
American BasilMixed
Amore Pesto PasteVegan
Barilla PestoNot Vegan
Bear Pond FarmMixed
Biona OrganicVegan
Blaze PizzaNot Vegan
BuitoniNot Vegan
Cibo NaturalsMixed
ClassicoNot Vegan
Cucina & AmoreMixed
GalikoNot Vegan
Happy PearVegan
KirklandNot Vegan
Le Conserve Della NonnaMixed
Le GrandMixed
LidlNot Vegan
Mellow MushroomNot Vegan
Mod PizzaNot Vegan
Noodles And CompanyNot Vegan
OrganicoVegan
PieologyNot Vegan
Pizza ExpressNot Vegan
Pizza PizzaNot Vegan
SaclaMixed
Sainsbury’sNot Vegan
Sauces ‘n LoveMixed
SeggianoVegan
TescoMixed
Which WichNot Vegan
ZestVegan
Which Brands of Pre-Made Pesto Are Vegan?

Now let’s take a look at all these specific pesto brands and products to see exactly which ones are vegan-friendly or not, and why.

Is 365 Pesto Vegan?

365 Pesto is not vegan, as it contains cheese and egg lysozyme (as a preservative). Here’s the full ingredients:

365 Everyday Value Basil Pesto Ingredients: “Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grana Padano Cheese (Cow’s Milk, Salt, Cheese Cultures, Animal Rennet, Egg Lysozyme), Cashews, Pecorino Romano Cheese (Sheep’s Milk, Salt, Cheese Cultures, Animal Rennet), Salt, Potato Starch, Pine Nuts, Garlic, Sugar, Lactic Acid.” (source)

Is Aldi Pesto Vegan? (Priano)

Aldi pesto is not vegan, as it contains cheese and egg lysozyme (as a preservative). Here are the two products I was specifically able to check:

PestoIs it Vegan?
Priano Rosso Pesto SauceNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Priano Alla Genovese Pesto SauceNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Is Aldi Pesto Vegan?

Is American Basil Pesto Vegan?

There are four flavors of vegan pesto produced by American Basil: Dairy-Free Pesto Perfectto, Pesto Habanero, Hemp Seed Pesto, and Roasted Garlic Pesto. The only non-vegan pesto varieties they make are Pesto Perfectto and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto.

Here’s the breakdown of all the flavors in a table:

PestoIs It Vegan?
American Basil: Pesto PerfecttoNo
American Basil: Sun Dried Tomato PestoNo
American Basil: Dairy-Free Pesto PerfecttoYes, Vegan!
American Basil: Pesto HabaneroYes, Vegan!
American Basil: Hemp Seed PestoYes, Vegan!
American Basil: Roasted Garlic PestoYes, Vegan!
Is American Basil Pesto Vegan? (Source)

Is Amore Pesto Paste Vegan?

Amore Pesto Paste is considered vegan. It does not contain any cheese, dairy products, or other animal-derived ingredients. Here’s the full ingredients list:

Amore Pesto Paste Ingredients: “Basil, Sunflower Oil, Olive Oil, Salt, Pine Nuts, Garlic, Citric Acid.” (source)

Is Barilla Pesto Vegan?

Barilla pesto is not vegan. Both varieties available contain dairy products, and the Rustic Basil Pesto Sauce also contains egg (as a preservative). Here are the two varieties I was able to specifically check:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto SauceNo (Contains Whey and Cheese)
Barilla Rustic Basil Pesto SauceNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Is Barilla Pesto Vegan? (Source)

Is Bear Pond Farm Pesto Vegan?

Most flavors of Bear Pond Farm pesto are not vegan, as they contain dairy products like cheese and whey. However, two Bear Pond Farm pesto flavors are vegan: Three Greens Pesto and Spicy Vegan Pesto.

Interestingly, Bear Pond Farm actually got these two vegan flavors certified vegan, with a vegan V symbol on the package! That’s super helpful for quickly identifying the vegan option in the store—so kudos to Bear Pond Farm for taking the time to get the certification.

Here’s the breakdown of flavors I was able to check on Bear Pond Farm’s website:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Premium Basil PestoNo
Three Greens PestoYes, Vegan!
Cilantro PestoNo
Tomato Basil PestoNo
Tomato Parmesan PestoNo
Spicy Vegan PestoYes, Vegan!
Is Bear Pond Farm Pesto Vegan?

Is Biona Organic Pesto Vegan?

Biona organic pesto is considered vegan. It contains no cheese, dairy, or other animal-derived ingredients. Here are the two flavors I specifically got to check:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Biona Organic Green PestoVegan
Biona Organic Red PestoVegan
Is Biona Organic Pesto Vegan? (Source)

Is Blaze Pizza Pesto Vegan?

Blaze Pizza’s pesto is not vegan, as it contains dairy. To get a vegan pizza at Blaze, avoid the pesto, and choose a red sauce instead.

Is Buitoni Pesto Vegan?

Buitoni pesto is not vegan. Their normal and Reduced Fat “Pesto With Basil” products both contain dairy products. Here’s the precise ingredients for the normal one:

Buitoni Pesto with Basil Ingredients: “Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Parmesan Cheese (Cultured Part-Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Romano Cheese (Cultured Part-Skim Cow’s Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Reduced Lactose Whey, Water, Whey Protein Concentrate, Pine Nuts, Garlic Puree, Walnuts, Salt, Spice.” (source)

Is Cibo Naturals Pesto Vegan?

The Sundried Tomato Pesto by Cibo Naturals is vegan. However, the other two flavors by Cibo Naturals—the Basil Pesto and the Artichoke Lemon Pesto—are not vegan, as they contain cheese.

Here’s that broken down in a table:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Cibo Naturals Basil PestoNo (Contains Cheese)
Cibo Naturals Sundried Tomato PestoVegan
Cibo Naturals Artichoke Lemon PestoNo (Contains Cheese)
Is Cibo Naturals Pesto Vegan?

Is Classico Pesto Vegan?

Classico pesto is not vegan, as it contains parmesan cheese. Here’s the full ingredients:

Classico Traditional Basil Pesto Ingredients: “Basil, Soybean Oil, Garlic, Parmesan Cheese (Cultured Part-Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Olive Oil, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% Of Spice, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Water, Natural Flavor.” (source)

Is Cucina & Amore Pesto Vegan?

Most flavors of Cucina & Amore pesto are not vegan, as they contain cheese. However, Cucina & Amore’s “Vegan & Nut Free Basil Pesto” is confirmed 100% vegan.

Here’s the full list of flavors I was able to check out:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Pesto alla Firenze (Artichoke Lemon Pesto)No (Contains Cheese)
Pesto alla Genovese (Basil Pesto)No (Contains Cheese)
Pesto alla Siciliana (Sun-dried Tomato Pesto)No (Contains Cheese)
Vegan & Nut Free Basil PestoVegan
Is Cucina & Amore Pesto Vegan? (source)

Is Galiko Basil Pesto Vegan?

Galiko Basil Pesto is not vegan, as it contains cheese. I couldn’t find the official ingredients list, but this was listed on the Woolworth’s website.

Is Happy Pear Pesto Vegan?

Happy Pear Pesto is confirmed vegan. All three flavors—Lovely Basil Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, and Gorgeous Cashew Pesto—are free of cheese, whey, and other dairy ingredients.

In addition, Happy Pear also sells a Lovely Basil Pesto Pasta, and that is vegan, too. If you’re wondering how they make their pesto vegan, here are the full ingredients for their basil pesto:

Happy Pear Lovely Basil Pesto Ingredients: “Olive Oil, Cashew Nuts (32%) (Cashew Nuts, Rapeseed Oil), Fresh Basil (16%), Lemon Juice, Fresh Garlic, Nutritional Yeast, Sea Salt, Apple Cider Vinegar, Natural Flavour, Yeast Extract.” (source)

Is Kirkland Pesto Vegan? (Costco)

Kirkland pesto is not vegan, as it contains cheese. Specifically, it contains parmesan cheese and Pecorino Romano D.O.P. As a reminder, Kirkland is the store brand you can find at Costco. Here is the full ingredients list:

Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto Ingredients: “Basil Blend (Basil D.O.P. Genova, Oil, Sea Salt), Sunflower Oil, Parmesan Cheese, (Pasteurized Part-Skimmed Cows Milk, Cheese Cultures, Sea Salt, Enzymes), Pine Nuts, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pecorino Romano D.O.P. Cheese (Sheeps Milk, Rennet, Salt), Fresh Garlic, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Black Pepper.” (source)

Is Le Conserve Della Nonna Pesto Vegan?

The “Free From” pesto flavors by Le Conserve Della Nonna are considered vegan. However, the Pesto Alla Genovese flavor contains cheese.

I was unable to check other flavors, but I do believe more flavors exist by this company, so you may want to check them all. Here’s the table of what I found:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Pesto Alla GenoveseNo (Contains Cheese)
“Free From” Green PestoVegan
“Free From” Red PestoVegan
Is Le Conserve Della Nonna Pesto Vegan?

Is Le Grand Pesto Vegan?

Most flavors of Le Grand pesto are vegan. However, Le Grand’s Classic Pesto is not vegan, as it contains Romano cheese.

Here is the full breakdown of Le Grand pesto flavors:

PestoIs it Vegan?
Le Grand Garden PestoVegan
Le Grand Classic PestoNo (Contains Romano Cheese)
Le Grand Live Pesto: Sun-Dried TomatoVegan
Le Grand ChimichurriVegan
Le Grand Spicy Olive & JalapenoVegan
Is Le Grand Pesto Vegan? (Source)

Here’s an example of the vegan ingredients found in one of the Le Grand pesto flavors:

Le Grand Garden Pesto Ingredients: “Fresh herbs (parsley, basil), expeller pressed non-GMO canola oil, sea salt, lemon juice (concentrated and fresh), fresh garlic, lactic acid.” (source)

Is Lidl Pesto Vegan?

Lidl pesto is not vegan, as it contains cheese. Specifically, Lidl’s green pesto contains 5.8% cheese. (source)

Is Mellow Mushroom Pesto Vegan?

Mellow Mushroom pesto is not vegan, as it appears to actually be pesto mayo. Pesto mayo is made with mayonnaise, which contains egg.

However, this comes from an 2014 interview with the Vice President of Brand Development at Mellow Mushroom. Unfortunately, I could not find more up-to-date information.

Is Mod Pizza Pesto Vegan?

MOD Pizza Pesto is not vegan, as it contains parmesan cheese. Here are the full ingredients of MOD Pizza’s pesto:

Ingredients: Basil, canola oil, water, parmesan cheese (pasteurized part-skim cows’ milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), granulated garlic, salt.

Is Noodles And Company Pesto Vegan?

Noodles and Company pesto is not vegan, as it contains parmesan cheese. Here are the full ingredients of the Basil Pesto Sauce at Noodles & Co:

INGREDIENTS: “Basil, Canola Oil, Water, Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Part-Skim Cows’ Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes) Salt, Granulated Garlic, Spices.”

Is Organico Pesto Vegan?

Organico Pesto is confirmed vegan. It contains no cheese, eggs, or other animal products. It also has earned the Vegan Society’s certification symbol. (Read my post on vegan symbols for more about that.)

Here’s the ingredients:

Organico Genovese Pesto Ingredients: “Extra Virgin Olive Oil*, Cashew Nuts*, Genovese Basil P.D.O. in Extra Virgin Olive Oil 25% (Genovese Basil P.D.O.* 48%, Extra Virgin Olive Oil* 45%, Salt), Tofu* (Soya*, Water), Pine Kernels*, Walnuts*, Apple Fibre*, Garlic*, Salt*, From Organic Agriculture.” (source)

Is Pieology Pesto Vegan?

Pieology pesto is not vegan, as it contains parmesan cheese. Here are the full ingredients:

Pieology Pesto Drizzle Ingredients: Basil, Canola Oil, Water, Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized part-skim cow’s milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), Granulated Garlic, Salt.) (source)

Is Pizza Express Pesto Vegan?

Pizza Express Pesto is not vegan, as it contains dairy. If you look at the allergen menu from Pizza Express, it clearly says that pesto needs to be removed from dishes to make them dairy-free and vegan.

Is Pizza Pizza Pesto Vegan?

Pizza Pizza pesto is not vegan, as it contains dairy. Specifically, it contains parmesan and Romano cheeses. Here’s the full ingredients:

Pizza Pizza Pesto Ingredients:Parmesan & Romano Cheeses, Water, Basil, Soya Vegetable Oil, Spinach, Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt, Herbs, Spices.” (source)

Is Sacla Pesto Vegan?

Most flavors of Sacla pesto are not vegan, as they contain dairy products and sometimes egg (used as a preservative). However, these three Sacla pesto flavors are vegan: Reduced Fat Basil Pesto, Vegan Basil Pesto, and Vegan Tomato Pesto.

Here’s the full breakdown of Sacla pesto flavors from a vegan perspective:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Sacla Pesto RossoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Sacla Pesto ChilliNo (Contains Cheese)
Sacla Pesto Alla GenoveseNo (Contains Cheese, Egg, and Whey)
Sacla Truffle PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Whey)
Sacla Black Olive PestoNo (Contains Cheese)
Sacla Reduced Fat Basil PestoVegan
Sacla Organic Vegetarian Tomato PestoNo (Contains Cheese)
Sacla Organic Vegetarian Basil PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Natural Flavor [Milk])
Sacla Vegan Basil PestoVegan
Sacla Vegan Tomato PestoVegan
Is Sacla Pesto Vegan? (Source 1 and 2)

If you’re curious, here’s how the cheese, whey, and egg are all integrated into a typical Sacla pesto:

Sacla Pesto Alla Genovese Ingredients: “Sunflower seed oil, Italian basil, cashew nuts, Grana Padano DOP Italian cheese (cow’s milk, salt, rennet, lysozyme from egg), Pecorino Romano DOP Italian cheese (eve’s milk, salt, rennet), water, glucose, sea salt, potatoes, pine kernels, lactic acid, garlic powder, whey protein, extra virgin olive oil.” (source)

Is Sainsbury’s Pesto Vegan?

Sainsbury’s pesto is not vegan. All flavors contain cheese, and most flavors also contain egg lysozyme as a preservative. Here are the five specific flavors I was able to find and check:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Sainsbury’s Green PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Sainsbury’s Red PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Sainsbury’s Roasted Red Pepper PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Sainsbury’s Lighter Green PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Sainsbury’s Chilli PestoNo (Contains Cheese)
Is Sainsbury’s Pesto Vegan? (Source)

Is Sauces ‘n Love Pesto Vegan?

Most flavors of Sauces ‘n Love pesto are not vegan, as they contain dairy products like cheese and cream. However, Sauces ‘n Love also has a “Vegan Pesto” product that is vegan.

Here’s the full list of pesto options I was able to check from Sauces ‘n Vegan:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Pink Pesto Pasta SauceNo (Contains Cream)
Scarpetta: Genovese PestoNo (Contains Cheese)
Scarpetta: Pink PestoNo (Contains Cream)
Vegan PestoVegan
Is Sauces ‘n Love Pesto Vegan? (Source)

Is Seggiano Pesto Vegan?

Seggiano Pesto is confirmed vegan. All five flavors are free of cheese, dairy, and other animal-derived ingredients. Here is the full list of flavors I was able to check:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Seggiano: Raw Basil PestoVegan
Seggiano: Tomato PestoVegan
Seggiano: Black Kale PestoVegan
Seggiano: Wild Fennel Tomato PestoVegan
La Macina Ligure: Organic Pesto GenoveseVegan
Is Seggiano Pesto Vegan? (Source)

Is Tesco Pesto Vegan?

Most flavors of Tesco pesto are not vegan, as they contain dairy products and sometimes egg lysozyme (as a preservative). However, the Tesco “Free From” pesto flavors are vegan: “Free From” Basil Pesto and “Free From” Red Pesto.

This makes sense because Tesco’s “Free From” label denotes products that are free from gluten, wheat, and milk. So it can’t contain any cheese or dairy.

Here’s the full breakdown of 12 Tesco pesto flavors from a vegan perspective:

PestoIs It Vegan?
Tesco Classic Green PestoNo (Contains Cheese, Yogurt, and Egg)
Tesco Red PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Tesco Reduced Fat Red PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Tesco Reduced Fat Green PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Tesco Finest Sundried Tomato Pesto RossoNo (Contains Cheese)
Tesco Finest Pesto Alla GenoveseNo (Contains Cheese)
Tesco Tomato & Chilli PestoNo (Contains Cheese and Egg)
Tesco Red Pepper Pesto CremosoNo (Contains Cheese)
Tesco Basil Pesto CremosoNo (Contains Cheese, Egg, Milk Proteins)
Tesco “Free From” Basil PestoVegan
Tesco “Free From” Red PestoVegan
Tesco Finest Pesto DressingNo (Contains Cheese)
Is Tesco Pesto Vegan? (Source)

Here’s what the ingredients look like for one of the vegan flavors:

Tesco Free From Basil Pesto Ingredients: “Basil (38%), Sunflower Oil, Water, Tofu (5%)[Soya Bean, Water, Firming Agent (Magnesium Chloride)], Cashew Nut (5%), Potato Flakes, Pine Nuts, Sugar, Salt, Acidity Regulator (Lactic Acid).” (source)

Is Which Wich Pesto Vegan?

Which Wich pesto does not appear to be vegan. Pesto is not included in the list of vegan sauces and spreads on the Which Wich website.

Is Zest Pesto Vegan?

Zest pesto is confirmed vegan. In fact, their main pesto offering is named Vegan Basil Pesto. It contains no cheese, dairy, or other animal-derived ingredients. Here is the full ingredients list:

Zest Vegan Basil Pesto Ingredients: “Rapeseed Oil, Ground Brazil Nuts (23%), Basil (20%), White Wine Vinegar, Ground Cashew Nuts (4%), Ground Hazelnuts (4%), Garlic Purée, Concentrated Apple Juice, Salt, Black Pepper, Toasted Sesame Oil, Chilli Powder.” (source)

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